Here in Ps 106, the Psalmist present us with a grand epic, a sweeping overview of the nation of Israel from the exodus out of Egypt, through to their return from the Babylonian exile.
Although the writer begins and ends this lengthy psalm with Praise and Thanksgiving for God’s grace and mercy, the bulk of the psalm focuses on Israel’s failure to keep their covenant with God—after the miracle at the Red sea, they quickly turn their backs on God and begin to question his role in their lives. Before long, they are grumbling and discontent as they continue to wander throughout the wilderness. They begin to put their faith in idols, such as the “Golden Calf”, and eventually they abandon God further by following Pagan gods and partaking in their sacrifices. While it seems to the Israelites that God is no longer listening to them, the truth is, that it is they who have abandoned God. God remains faithful to his covenant with the Nation of Israel, but is not willing to force Himself upon them. (vs 15)
Just as the Israelites faced many trials and temptations, so do we today. We must be careful to learn from their mistakes and not abandon our relationship with God as they did repeatedly. This is not easy, especially when we live in a society where the majority of people are turning away from God. And today, as with the nation of Israel when that happens, we begin to focus on “idol” worship, we wander and grumble aimlessly through our lives looking for that ever-elusive “lottery win” which will instantly solve all our problems. We expect and want a God who grants all our wishes. We place this secular society’s norms, over and above God-given biblical truths and principles, when “today” becomes the focus over eternity and God’s will for our lives. We depend on ourselves for guidance instead of inviting God into our lives.
But we can take great comfort, as the Psalmist does, that the reality of these daily challenges we face often are the moments that we reflect upon and that ultimately lead us back into reconciliation with God—who loves us so much that we understand that he has never abandoned us.
So, as we approach this Easter season, let us appreciate the depth of that love, in the fact that he sent his Son, Jesus, to live among us, to die for us and then lead us through his resurrection back into communion with God!
As the Psalmist says “Praise the Lord!”